Ennead Architects to Design New Shanghai Planetarium

Images courtesy Ennead Architects

After winning an international competition, New York–based Ennead Architects will design the new 409,000-square-foot Shanghai Planetarium, a branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM) in the city’s Lingang District. Design Partner Thomas Wong and Management Partner Guy Maxwell will head the $95 million project and draw inspiration from astronomical principles and the experience of orbital motion.

“The museum design celebrates the continuum of time and space: it is modern and forward-looking and at the same time is a link to the past, mirroring both the rich history of Chinese astronomy and the future ambitions of China’s space exploration program,” said Maxwell and Wong.

The architectural composition will reflect upon space using three primary structures: the Oculus, the Inverted Dome, and the Sphere. Each building’s galleries will support visitor flow using design based on orbital movement and act as an active astronomical instrument, tracking movement of the sun, moon, and stars. The Oculus will hang suspended in the museum’s main entry and demonstrate the passage of time by tracking a circle of sunlight on the ground across the entry plaza and reflecting pool. Additionally, the Sphere will contain the planetarium theater, and the Inverted Dome will recreate an experience of the day and night sky. Located within an expansive green zone, the museum grounds  will incorporate exterior exhibits such as a 24-meter-high solar telescope.

The Shanghai Planetarium will also include a 21-meter-diameter Digital Sky Theater, IMAX theater, education and research center, and youth observation camp and observatory.

The project is set to be complete in 2018.